Public Relations

Adapting Your Media Pitch During the Critical Time of Mass Vaccinations

These days the media landscape is in a unique position. With the number of COVID cases slowly starting to decline in most cities across the U.S., coverage of the virus and its devastating effects has begun to follow suit and has also started to decrease. This has made more room for news unrelated to the coronavirus to be featured.

However, though the media may not be as focused on COVID as it has been over the past year, it has now pivoted its attention to another subject matter related to the virus — vaccinations. So, while there are more opportunities for non-COVID coverage, you are still competing with an important topic. And even though the coverage on vaccinations may not be as all-consuming as the coverage on the coronavirus was, the vaccinations will have a significant impact on the future, so they will be a major occupier in the news cycle for months to come.

With that said, you will need to ensure that you are crafting innovative and relevant pitches for the media that are strong and compelling enough to cut through the noise. Below are a couple of tips and examples.

Pitch Optimism but Continue to Read the Room

At this point, a year into the pandemic, reporters (and readers) have been dealing with COVID news fatigue for a while now and are hungry for fresh content. And while we’re certainly not out of the woods yet in terms of the pandemic, it’s gradually beginning to feel like we’re headed in the right direction.

As newsrooms shift from intensive pandemic coverage to coverage on the vaccinations, they are ushering in a feeling of hope, as the vaccinations represent more than just protection from the virus, but also a path back to normalcy. Subsequently, reporters may be open to receiving more optimistic, upbeat pitches for stories akin to the pitches they received pre-COVID.

However, remember to remain sensitive to the hardships that many across the country are still facing. Before pitching a publication, consider the recent stories it has covered and its general tone. Think critically about your pitch, use sound judgment, and err on the side of caution to avoid sending tone-deaf pitches.

If Possible, Tailor Your Approach to Include a Vaccination Angle

Just like the coronavirus, stories dealing with vaccinations are sure to be a fixture in the media for a long time. So just as they did with the coronavirus, brands will need to find authentic and meaningful ways to relate themselves to the vaccination narrative if they want to appeal to the media. This will be easy for many brands in the healthcare industry such as hospitals, provider groups, doctor’s offices, etc. But other companies will need to think outside of the box for a relevant tie-in.

For example, journalists are currently looking for pitches that describe the impact the vaccinations are having on people, companies, and markets, and the important role it will play in the future. Brands will get the media’s attention if they can provide insight related to this angle that informs and adds to the response. Or a pitch may be able to highlight an event or initiative that is being resumed as a result of the increasing number of vaccinations.

Additionally, you may want to pitch a corporate social responsibility story in which your company considers hosting a vaccine clinic or thinks about assisting a healthcare organization to facilitate vaccination sign-ups for the elderly or underrepresented communities. This type of story fits the needs of the moment and benefits a company’s reputation.

During the best of times, the worst of times, and everything in between, MassMedia’s savvy team of media relations experts know how to navigate a complex, media-driven world. They know what makes a good story and have cultivated relationships with reporters to ensure optimal coverage for our clients. Contact us today for more information!

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